The Inheritance was recently reviewed by Sandra Oshaski; The Library of Clean Reads.

My review:

Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

There is a beautiful, evocative book cover. The author “snapped the cover photo on a 2004 research trip to Calabria, Italy. The image is key to the story.” I was captured upon reading those lines.

The novel is set in 1900’s Calabria, Italy. It is essentially the story of two women, Anna and Caterina. A bond begins to form between them when Caterina’s mother dies in childbirth. Anna becomes “Mamma Anna” to her, much to the disapproval of Anna’s husband. She is married to Santo, a cold, unloving man who is grooming his two older sons “in the family business” aka the mob.

I experienced a growing sense of unease as these sons are estranged from their mother, groomed for crime, developing cruel, violent natures. Anna is powerless to prevent it as she is merely wife and mother, having no real influence in the family, except on her youngest son, Lorenzo, a dreamy, artistic boy, for whom Santo has little regard. Meanwhile Caterina grows up under the influence of Anna, despite being a servant, developing a close bond of which Santo disapproves.

The inevitable happens as Caterina and Lorenzo become childhood friends which friendship develops into strong love as they mature and secretly marry. The patriarch, Santo, highly disapproves of this union resulting in sad consequences to all concerned. I found myself both loving and intensely disliking the main characters.

The author has done extensive research about Calabria from where she traces her ancestry. That is reflected in her descriptions of food, surroundings, as well as the aftermath of the earthquake of 1908 in Calabria and Sicily. I love the Italian words inserted in the text, which add to the authenticity of the story.

This novel is about treachery, family secrets, and loss, but also about the redeeming power of both maternal and romantic love. It is a good read.

Note: This book is rated G.
To read more reviews, please visit Marianne Perry’s page on Italy Book Tours.